Biden, Iran and the bomb
The Democratic establishment will soon be back in charge of American foreign policy, and the question is what they learned in exile. One of the first tests will be Iran, and whether Joe Biden will abandon the strategic gains President Trump made in the Middle East in the rush to revert to the deeply flawed 2015 nuclear deal.
The apparent assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist near Tehran on Friday shows that Iran’s nuclear program remains a global security concern. No one has taken responsibility, but a number of countries have reason to act now in the event the Biden administration returns to a policy of appeasement with Iran.
The United States left the nuclear deal in May 2018 and embarked on a campaign of “maximum pressure” sanctions. After reinstating the sanctions before the deal, the Trump administration added new restrictions to the entire Iranian economy, which are rigged to enrich the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Tehran’s elites. The White House plans to announce further sanctions until January 20.
The sanctions have succeeded in weakening the rogue regime. Today, Tehran exports about a quarter of the 2.5 million barrels of oil per day it shipped when the United States was still in the deal. It robs the government of $ 50 billion in annual revenue. The economy contracted, while the Iranian rial lost 80% of its value against the dollar.
Iran has responded by increasing its violations of the nuclear deal. It now has 12 times the enriched uranium limit allowed by the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said this month. It also enriches uranium to 4.5% purity, above the 3.67% authorized by the agreement but far from the 90% concentration required for a bomb.